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Infectious Disease (INFD) Research Opportunities

An important element of the Master of Science in Infectious Disease (INFD) program is the research internship in infectious disease. The internship, which is one of the required courses in the program, encompasses one of three specific areas of research in the field of infectious disease:

  • Basic discovery involving infectious bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic pathogens that cause human disease
  • Translational research focused on the development of new approaches to diagnose, prevent or treat infectious diseases
  • Clinical infectious disease research focused on infectious diseases in humans

How Is an Internship Completed?

Most students choose to engage in a hands-on research internship consisting of a 12-week research program in a laboratory at Drexel University, another academic institution, or at a biotechnology or biopharmaceutical company. Distance students can make arrangements with academic or industrial institutions in their home regions rather than in the Greater Philadelphia area. Alternatively, traditional and online students may choose to engage in independent research projects with the approval and supervision of the program director.

While completing the internship, students will gain experience in analyzing data that they help to generate or information collected from the published literature. At the conclusion of the internship, students document their accomplishments in a written report and an oral presentation.

Where Is the Internship Completed?

Students select their internship hosts after considering the available research opportunities and matching them to their own professional interests and career goals. Past graduates of the Infectious Disease program have completed internships in a variety of settings, including Drexel University laboratories, contract research organizations (CRO) and biotech companies. Research projects have focused on numerous fields in infectious disease, including virology, parasitology, mycology, bacteriology, therapeutics and vaccines. A list of Drexel University investigators who have research interests in infectious disease and are potential internship hosts is provided below.

  • Carol Artlett, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Inflammasome signaling; IL-1 mediated fibrosis; collagen export from the endoplasmic reticulum; miR-155; small molecule therapeutic development

  • Joris Beld, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Chemical biology and microbiology of secondary metabolism in various organisms

  • Lawrence Bergman, PhD

    Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Malaria, invasion, global gene expression, merozoite, sporozoite, actin-myosin, microarray, Plasmodium

  • Elizabeth Blankenhorn, PhD

    Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Genetic foundations for inherited susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, including diabetes, scleroderma and multiple sclerosis; impact of genetics on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  • Michael Bouchard, PhD

    Co-director, Division of Biomedical Science Programs; Professor
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Liver cancer; hepatocyte transformation; calcium signaling; apoptosis; cell proliferation; alcohol; novel liver models; hepatitis B virology and hepatic cancer; HBx protein and hepatitis viral replication; calcium signaling and its role in cellular transformation; fatty liver disease and the gut microbiome axis

  • Farrel Joel Buchinsky, MD

    Assistant Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, and Otolaryngology; Director, Respiratory Papillomatosis Program, Center for Genomic Sciences, Allegheny-Singer Research Institute
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology, Otolaryngology, Surgery
    Research Interests: Human papillomavirus (HPV), condylomata, benign neoplasm of the larynx, recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP).

  • James M. Burns Jr., PhD

    Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Development of protective immunity against blood-stage malaria induced by immunization with defined subunit vaccines.

  • Alison J. Carey, MD*

    Associate Professor of Pediatrics
    Department: Pediatrics

  • Irwin Chaiken, PhD

    Professor
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Protein interactions in health and disease, structure-based antagonism of HIV-1 Env, recombinant protein/peptidomimetic/small molecule inhibitor design and mechanism of action

  • Simon Cocklin, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Macromolecular interaction analysis, HIV-1 replication, strucuture-function relationships, ligand-receptor interactions

  • Will Dampier, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Exploring patterns of HIV genetic variation, its influences on disease progression and impacts on excision therapy

  • Garth D. Ehrlich, PhD

    Professor of Microbiology & Immunology; Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology, Otolaryngology
    Research Interests: Use of large-scale comparative genomic technologies to explore the molecular pathogenesis of chronic infectious diseases and the human genetics of susceptibility and resistance to infection.

  • Elias El Haddad, PhD

    Professor of Medicine; MD/PhD Program Director
    Department: Medicine: Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine
    Research Interests: Human immunology, systems biology, infectious disease pathogenesis and vaccinology

  • Pooja Jain, PhD

    Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Dendritic cell-based immunotherapy against ATLL induced by the human retroviral infection HTLV-1 as well as against neuroinflammatory diseases induced by infection (HAM/TSP) or inflammation (multiple sclerosis, MS)

  • Stephen Jennings, PhD

    Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Optimal protection from HSV-1 infection provided by interactions between innate and acquired immune responses.

  • Suresh Joshi, MD, PhD, MSc

    Faculty
    Research Interests: Bacterial pathogenesis and biofilms; wound infection and healing

  • Santosh Katiyar, PhD

    Research Associate Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Molecular genetics and antimicrobial therapy of opportunistic fungal infections, with major emphasis on molecular mechanisms of antifungal drug resistance

  • Zafar Khan, PhD

    Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Transgenic and humanized mouse modeling of neuroinflammation; target-based high-throughput screening (HTS) and pre-clinical studies on development of novel antiviral molecules with focus on mechanism(s) of action; INDO-US collaborative program under the Center for International Translational Medicine of the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease (IMMID)

  • Sandhya Kortagere, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Biased signaling of dopamine D3 receptor agonists; developing symptomatic and disease-modifying therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease; etiology of mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease; role of dopamine receptors in neurocognitive impairment in HIV and other neuronal infections

  • Fred Krebs, PhD

    Associate Professor; Co-director, Interdisciplinary and Career-Oriented Programs
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: HIV-1 immunopathogenesis and neuropathogenesis, plasma medicine (biomedical applications of non-thermal plasma)

  • Michele Kutzler, PhD

    Assistant Dean for Faculty Development; Associate Professor of Medicine; Associate Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
    Department: Medicine: Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Translational research in the area of vaccinology, immunology and infectious disease

  • Julio Martin-Garcia, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Macrophage tropism and neurotropism of HIV-1; cellular senescence during HIV-1 infection and HIV-1 neuropathogenesis; innate immune responses to HIV-1 infection in macrophages, microglia and dendritic cells; microRNAs and HIV-1

  • Joshua Chang Mell, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Using genomics to investigate the mechanism, consequences and evolution of genetic recombination, especially in pathogenic bacteria.

  • Olimpia Meucci, MD, PhD

    Professor & Chair
    Department: Pharmacology & Physiology
    Research Interests: HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders and drug abuse, chemokine-based therapeutics, neuroprotective pathways in neuroinflammation

  • Sonia Navas-Martin, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Innate immunity, toll-like receptors, neuroimmunology, neuroinflammation, neurodegenerative diseases, blood brain barrier, microglia, astrocytes, neurons, macrophages, viral encephlalitis, demyelination, molecular pathogenesis of neurotropic RNA viruses, cellular senesce, microRNAs, animal models, therapeutic targets

  • Michael Nonnemacher, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: HIV-1 genetic variation in disease progression; role of viral accessory proteins in pathogenesis; impact of HIV-1 and drugs of abuse on the blood-brain barrier

  • Pamela Norton, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Characterization of glycoproteomic biomarkers for hepatocellular carcinoma, induction of novel immune responses by agents that alter N-glycan processing

  • Vanessa Pirrone, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Impact of HIV infection on colorectal cancer, and the role of the HIV-1 Nef protein; impact of age and HIV/HCV coinfection on HIV-1 replication, pathogenesis and immune activation profiles

  • Laura Steel, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Disruptions to metabolic homeostasis in hepatitis B virus–infected hepatocytes; development of RNA silencing–based therapies for HBV

  • Akhil Vaidya, PhD

    Professor; Director, Center for Molecular Parasitology
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Understanding basic molecular functioning of malaria parasites with a view to developing new antimalarial drugs.

  • Brian Wigdahl, PhD

    Professor and Chair, Microbiology and Immunology; Director, Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease
    Department: Microbiology & Immunology
    Research Interests: Immunopathogenesis and neuropathogenesis of HIV-1 and HTLV-I infection; transcriptional regulation of retroviral expression; viral sequence diversity and correlations to disease; development of microbicidal agents

A graduate student in the Infectious Disease program at Drexel University College of Medicine working in the laboratory.